Category Archives: Eco-Friendly Living

Lazy Sunday

Lazy Sunday Dahlia

In the spirit of sharing things that I loved this week, here’s a little reading for a good lazy Sunday in the fall. :)

First – my good friend Katie did a TED Talk!!!  What an achievement.  She spoke about the importance of embracing our stories.  Thank you, Katie, because before you entered my life I wasn’t writing down my stories.

My friend Kalani made a great point: Don’t Get Sucked Into Buying Holiday-Only Clothing !

I love so much of what this NY Times article says about people getting by on less in order to live their dream career.

This post on “How to say goodbye at a party” really intrigued me, because I totally understand the dilemma the author describes.  The discussion in the comments drew me in, too, because people are so clearly divided on whether or not it’s rude.  I can see both sides, and am torn.

Have you assembled a Life Team?  I think mine is coming together, and I feel that you all who encourage my writing here are a part of it.  So – Thank you for supporting me in my blogging adventures!

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An Unconventional Wedding Registry, Part 2: Going Vintage

Last week I told you about the difficulties we had choosing traditional items for our wedding registry. Now I’m back to tell you how our Macy’s registry came to a close and another, more fitting registry, was born.

So to summarize Part 1:  Ryan and I didn’t want to register for a lot of the traditional kitchen gadgets and home items, but we did want to register for something instead of receiving random gifts or trinkets because we’re both so anti-clutter in our home and lives.  Yes, I know that really just means we’re picky.  It doesn’t come from ungratefulness but rather from the fact that we are just happier having a simple home.

But there are some items we’d still love to fill our home with.  The problem?  Most of them are vintage!  We both prefer vintage furniture and I have a personal obsession with vintage serving dishes and Pyrex cookware.   Additionally, I’m dragging Ryan along on my mission to avoid new products that are made with unethical labor, aka sweatshops, especially overseas.

Vintage Pyrex Mixing Bowls

A wedding registry Made in the USA?

Shortly after my experience with the pushy registry consultant at Macy’s I went to Crate and Barrel.  I was struggling with the fact that all our items at Macy’s were manufactured overseas.  Mostly in China.  At Macy’s I couldn’t find a single bath towel or bathmat that was made in the USA, or even Canada. How sad is that?

I already knew that Crate and Barrel had a stronger environmental and social responsibility policy than many traditional registry stores (i.e. Walmart, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond) and much of their furniture is made in North Carolina from sustainably harvested wood.  That knowledge alone had me wanting to switch our registry store,  because if ‘m going to support (or encourage others to support) a mainstream retailer, I’d like it to be one that’s at least making an effort.

Then one day I spent a good hour at the store, notebook in hand, listing all the products which were made in the USA.  Many of the items we might want for our registry were on the list, so that pretty much sealed the deal.  (I’ve since misplaced my list, so I can’t share it. Whoops.)

I immediately cancelled our Macy’s registry and streamlined us down to a small registry at Crate & Barrel.  It contained items like an electric mixer, flatware, and a few other items we’d like to have in the house.

But wait, there’s more!

During this entire process I kept saying to Ryan things like

“The problem with wedding registries is that they’re all for new items.  I don’t want new mixing bowls, I prefer vintage Pyrex ones!”  

or

“I’d much rather have a house full of vintage glassware and furniture from the vintage store.”

And Ryan agreed.

So one day I asked Lance, who owns an amazing mid-century modern furniture shop in Littleton, NH, if there was any way we could somehow register for vintage gifts.  We’ve been loyal – if distant – customers of Just L ever since we found it during our fall road trip in 2010.   To my great surprise and excitement, Lance said yes!  Creating a vintage registry was a new adventure for him, but I loved the enthusiasm with which he tackled the challenge.   I may or may not have danced excitedly around the house.

Creating the Just L Vintage Registry

To create the registry, Lance took me on a virtual tour of the shop.  We connected using FaceTime, which is like Skype, and Lance held his iPad out in front of him so I could see the shop as we talked.  He spent over an hour walking me through the entire sales floor, showing me every item and holding the iPad up close to zoom in on the details if I had questions.

When we were done, Ryan and I had a nice, small registry assembled.   It consisted mostly of vintage kitchen items that we loved and a few larger pieces of furniture towards which people could buy gift certificates.   Lance put all the photos up in an album on his shop’s Facebook page (the only website they use) and in each photo he included the item description and price, as well as the number people could call to order.

I also had to explain it on our wedding website, but I think I did an OK job with that.  My mom stopped worrying after she saw it. . . or at least stopped asking so many questions!

In case you’re curious, here’s a peek at some of the items we registered for in addition to gift certificates towards larger furniture purchases:

I can not wait to serve chips and dip with this gorgeous lime green “tiered” serving bowl:

And I think these blue and gold cocktail glasses are just to die for with their most amazing Moroccan style pattern.

Just L Briard Cocktail Glasses Blue

On a more wacky, less classy, note – I know that some people are surely raising an eyebrow at these vintage Pyrex lab beakers, but I just love them – either for use as serving jugs (after a full sterilization, of course) or for use as vases (more likely).  How awesome are they!?

Vintage Pyrex Lab Beakers Just L

There will also be some decor changes in the Borrowed Abode this June!

Just L Mid-century modern sofa

This wooden mid-century sofa and chair set is part of our registry – not that we expect anyone to shell out the entire $875 for it, but because it is the primary large set of furniture that we’re excited to pick up in June when we go there.  Lance got major points in my book with his willingness to hold onto that set for us.  Hmm. . . wherever will we put it?  ;)

And that’s the story of how we came to have the perfect (for us) wedding registry.  I’m so excited that we were able to register for items we  really loved – and support a small business in the process!   And after the wedding, I can’t wait to incorporate these items in our home, and think of our wonderful friends and family every time we use them.

Psst: My blog buddy Jeannine is getting married in June, too. She’s been a much more responsible blogger throughout the process.   :)  Check out her experience with the Macy’s wedding registry here.

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2 Upcycled & Free Storage Ideas

Happy Tuesday, people!  I’m still catching up from being out of town for 5 days, so pardon me if I just share a quick storage and organizing tip with y’all today. (Whoops!  Did I just say “y’all?”  I guess a little bit of Nashville snuck home in my vocabulary!)

Several of you’ve requested I share more tips on DIY-ing inexpensive or free storage ideas – so here’s a peek at a few ways I created free storage in my basement work room overhaul.

1.  Repurpose Cardboard Boxes

If you have the space to do so, always store a few cardboard boxes.  They make great, customizable  storage containers!  (Remember how I used them to create fabric-covered storage bins in my bedroom?)

After a few swipes of the razor blade, a skinny, rectangular box (similar to a cereal box) was turned into the perfect filing place for all my sheets of sandpaper.  You know what else it would work well as?  A magazine file!  All you’d need to do is cover it with a bit of pretty fabric or paper, and voila!

2.  Save Take-Out Containers

I recently used some take-out containers to create simple and functional hat storage on my studio walls.  But that’s not all these containers are good for!  I stockpile them like crazy, because you never know when they’ll come in handy.

Ryan’s new toolbox provided the perfect landing pad for all sorts of smaller hardware pieces, but I didn’t want to throw them in there to make one big, jumbled mess.   I turned to my trusty stash of Chinese (or Thai) food take-out containers, slapped some Dymo labels on those babies, and instantly had grabbable containers for things like electrical tape, curtain hardware, etc.  This way, whenever I need something that’s stored in the toolbox, I’ll be able to easily sort and find it.  An added bonus?  Once I find the items I need, I can easily transport them to the room I’m using them in, without having to lug around the whole tool chest.

And remember – if you want to have containers on hand to work with, then be sure to have a large container for the stash somewhere.  I keep mine in a few bins in the basement storage room, and I save everything from the containers pictured above to glass jars to tea tins, and more.   Pretty much, if it’s a useful seeming container, and it’s clean [not to mention cute], I save it!

However, don’t turn into a hoarder.  Over Christmas I had to go through my stash of cardboard boxes and select some for recycling, because it was getting out of hand.

That’s it for today.  I promise to share the awesome nuggets of info I learned at Blissdom later this week – I just need some time to put them all together, but I also didn’t want to go crazy with Blissdom overload on the blog, in case some of you aren’t so interested in it!

In case you missed these last week:

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